Film Column – The Devil’s Bath

Giving a voice to the invisible and unheard women of the rural past; The Devil’s Bath is a visceral, disorienting and deeply profound study of loneliness and depression leading to emotional turmoil.

SET in 1750 Austria, The Devil’s Bath tells the story of a deeply religious woman named Agnes (Anja Plaschg) who has just got married.

Agnes doesn’t feel she belongs in the world of new husband Wolf (David Scheid), and her mind and heart soon grow heavy as her life becomes a long list of chores and expectations.

Under the watchful and critical gaze of her controlling mother-in-law (Maria Hofstatter), this nature-loving young woman becomes increasingly isolated and lost in her murky and lonely path to evil thoughts.

Any hopes of a life of marital bliss are quickly put to bed on her wedding night when her drunken spouse makes it blatantly clear that he has no interest in the conjugal side of matrimony. Feeling unfulfilled and desperately alone, Agnes takes to wondering the woods at all hours of day and night where she becomes even more cut off from rural village life.

Struggling with the day-to-day of gutting fish alongside her unaffectionate fisherman husband, she ultimately comes to the conclusion that committing a shocking act of violence is the only way out of her inner prison. In a last chance effort of saving herself, she returns home to her mother. However, is sent back to her new life to fulfill her duty by making babies and serving her rustic husband in a joyless existence.

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Giving a voice to the invisible and unheard women of the rural past; The Devil’s Bath, now streaming on Shudder, is a visceral, disorienting and deeply profound study of loneliness and depression leading to emotional turmoil.

This is a haunting and affecting film about societal pressures, with breathtaking moments of twisted violence. As we follow Agnes down the rabbit hole to the story’s heartbreaking and brutal conclusion, this is one tale that stays etched on your memory long after the final credits.

(4/5)

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